Monday Ministerial Musings
By Rev. Mark William Ennis
2022 Blog #48
December 5, 2022
Indiana Jones and Holy Communion
My favorite of all the Indiana Jones movies is “The Last Crusade.” This movie features both Sean Connery as well as Harrison Ford. In this movie the two are seeking “The Holy Grail” which is said to be the chalice that Jesus used during the Last Supper. This movie is a fictional tail that has the chalice guarded by a society of warriors who have been protecting it since the last supper. Drinking from this chalice restores health and liquid poured from it even heals bullet wounds. In this movie, Indiana Jones must pick the correct chalice from a line of dozens if not hundreds of chalices. Most are heavily ornamented with jewels and are made of precious metals. Jones, makes the correct selection, picking the most humble and ordinary chalice. It was, after all, the drinking cup of a carpenter, not of a wealthy man or human royalty.
It startles me that Hollywood in this movie seemed to understand Holy Communion better than many churches do. Churches that I have been a part of use tend to use very ornate communion ware, quite unlike and detached from common dishes. My home church used sterling silver, stored in special jeweler bags and polished before each communion service. Most communion sets I have seen would probably be better fits at Downton Abbey than at a supper celebrated at Jesus’ Last Supper. It seems that we forget the humility of Jesus.
During my trip to the Holy Land I was pleasantly surprised when I was asked to loan one of my souvenir purchases for use during our service of Holy Communion. This purchase, to no one’s surprise, was a coffee mug from a Palestinian store. My coffee mug was used as a communion chalice on a boat on the Sea of Galilee!
At first it seemed strange to have my coffee mug used in such a way, but once the communion service began, somehow it seemed right. Jesus used ordinary dishes at the Last Supper and we were using an ordinary coffee mug, far more humble than the usual Holy Communion dishes. I felt that perhaps we were closer to the real Last Supper than many Communion services that I have participated in.
If there is one thing that Jesus encouraged in his disciples, it was humility. He was God becoming human but a human who was ordinary, not extraordinary by human standards. It is in the humble and ordinary that we really find Jesus, not in the fancy or spectacular. I hope that we remember this during communion and every other aspect of life. The more humble we are, the closer we get to Jesus.
As an epilogue to this story, I wondered if I could ever drink coffee out of my mug after it was used for Holy Communion. Somehow, using it for coffee seemed sacrilegious. When I tried it with coffee suddenly my memory was pulled back to the Sea of Galilee and I re-experienced the joy of that Holy Communion. I’m glad that my mug was used in that way. It was a communion that I bet I will never forget.